Spring in the gorgeous Napa Valley California paved the way for a wonderful racing day. I learned about the HITS Triathlon race series through my new female endurance team, Viva Pink. HITS is a newer production company, around 4 years old, which makes it brand new to me since I've been off the triathlon circuit for 3+ years. Like most races in my recent comeback, I was pretty noncommittal and didn't register until the last possible date for online sign-up. Following the March Triathlon Series Sprint race, I knew I was interested in attempting a longer distance, Olympic distance, race again sometime this season - although there was only 3 weeks between MTS and HITS which allowed for zero time to do any significantly different or increased training. In any event, I committed to sign-up for the Olympic and that was that.
Heading up to Napa on Saturday afternoon, my car GPS went crazy and I ended up way out in the East bay on some back road to Lake Berryessa. As I winded down narrow rolling hill roads, I realized this would be the bike and run course for the race - so take note. Not much you can do in a car and yet, still better than having no idea what the course looks like on race day. One of the aspects of triathlon that I absolutely love is the scenic views and amazing perspective on life and the human spirit. It is always exciting to be somewhere remote, in the 'wild' and with a large group of folks who share the love of healthy sports and fitness. After picking up my packet at the Lake, I headed out to a fellow VivaPink member who offered me a room in her Napa house for the night - much more friendly experience than being in a hotel room.
Not gonna lie - when the alarm went off at 4:30AM, my first thought was "why the *$# am I doing this again?" After 5 minutes of snooze, I was good and off to the race. It took about an hour to get back to the lake. Unlike my 2 sprint races in March, the Olympic distance race started after the Sprinters and we were also required to exit transition by 7:05AM for a 7:51AM start, which didn't leave much any buffer time to do my typical pre-race activities. However, I know how to adapt so its all good.
I decided to try about my new Garmin 920XT GPS watch on the swim - details below. The water was cool, not cold and somewhat clear. I felt pretty solid on the swim and developed a good sighting technique which seemed to work well. On the bike mount, I still struggled a bit with pulling the straps over the shoes. I think I need to practice dexterity with my left hand. In any event, once out on the bike course, it was all rolling hills - which was good and bad. Good from a recovery perspective and bad for me from a training perspective since I've been doing basically zero hill training. I knew I could bike 24 miles although I hadn't raced 24 miles in over 3 years so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. It went fine though so that was reassuring. Now all that was left is the 10K run. I thought it would be so much worse than it was - maybe I have just improved my mental strength and will. I actually enjoyed the run with all of the hills. My run race was a little slower than what my original goal had been - however, I was proud of the finish and putting all of the pieces together into one race. And because this race did not mark your age on the back of your calf, I had no idea that I would be 1st place in the age group, considering a couple girls passed me on the bike and lots on the run (as usual). I was super excited and blessed to have such a great experience and great win on my first Olympic race since 2011. :-)
RANK: 1st in Age Group
TOTAL TIME: 2:44:12
SWIM: 26:16. 2015 HITS Napa Valley Olympic Distance Triathlon Swim Course
BIKE: 1:19:26 2015 HITS Napa Valley Olympic Distance Triathlon Bike Course
RUN: 55:10. 2015 HITS Napa Valley Olympic Distance Triathlon Run Course
First open water swim with my new Garmin 920XT GPS watch. I'm surprised how straight I swam on course. I'm impressed with myself.